Nature Engaged: Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present

Overview

Gathering essays that focus on the worldliness of science, this volume offers a kaleidoscopic survey of some of the newest and most exciting work in the history of science. The contributions here are situated at the intersection of science studies and cultural history, revealing science's inseparable engagement with the major institutional bases of social life: law, market, church, school, and nation. With a chronological span reaching from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, these pieces explore sundials, ...

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Overview

Gathering essays that focus on the worldliness of science, this volume offers a kaleidoscopic survey of some of the newest and most exciting work in the history of science. The contributions here are situated at the intersection of science studies and cultural history, revealing science's inseparable engagement with the major institutional bases of social life: law, market, church, school, and nation. With a chronological span reaching from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, these pieces explore sundials, genetic sequences, simulations of human behavior, cartography, radioactive fallout, and a host of other historical phenomena that show the sciences in action throughout human society.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'The nature/nurture dichotomy has lost its grip in biology. So too, in the new history of science on display in this volume, science and culture no longer struggle against one another. Mutually entangled, they are also mutually enriching and constantly throw up surprises, from the boiling point of water to the meaning of a sundial to the legal status of a gene.' - M. Norton Wise, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

'In this remarkable assembly of essays, the authors take some of the oldest topics in the history of science (priority, experiments, devices, international meetings, for example) and rewrite them in a strikingly new register. Thoroughly historical, engagingly written, these inquiries show us how patents rewrite the very idea of innovation, how mechanisms alter philosophy, how biblical chronology engages astronomy. In the range and depth of their vision of history of science in a world of war, industry, and the academy, the book is a fine tribute to John Heilbron's illustrious career in history of science; at the same time, Nature Engaged stands on its own as a delightful glimpse of some of the best work we have.' - Peter L. Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor and Director, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Hardvard University, USA

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jessica Riskin is Associate Professor of History at Stanford University, USA.
Mario Biagioli is Distinguished Professor of STS, Law, and History at the University of California, Davis, USA.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Nature Engaged; M.Biagioli & J.Riskin
PART I: CONVENTIONS
Scientific Meetings and Technical Standards; K.Alder
Practicing Eighteenth-Century Science Today; H.Chang
The Textbook Case of a Priority Dispute; M.D.Gordin
Complex Systems and Total War; D.Pestre
PART II: LAWS
Witnessing Astronomy: Kepler on the Uses and Misuses of Testimony; M.Biagioli
Improvement for Profit: Calculating Machines and the Prehistory of Intellectual Property; M.L.Jones
Genes, Railroads and Regulations; D.J.Kevles
Epidemiology in Court; T.Golan
PART III: NARRATIVES
Mercator Maps Time; A.Grafton
Rethinking 1633: Writing about Galileo After the Trial; P.Findlen
PART IV: THINGS
Machines in the Garden; J.Riskin
Cosmography and the Meaning of Sundials; J.Bennett
The Web of Knowing and Doing: William Thomson's Apparatus Room and the History of Electricity; G.Pancaldi

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